Bushwick is a former working-class neighborhood in the north-east of Brooklyn, not far from the most popular Williamsburg.
You can get there easily with the L subway line (the gray), from Union Square to Jefferson Street Station. Few flights of stairs and you find yourself in the center of the neighborhood.
Zimad, a well-known street artist from Queens, wait me here to show me his last “project”.
A huge written, BUSHWICK, just opposite the exit of the metro, whose large letters are visible at a considerable distance, each will be filled by the inspiration and the immagination of famous artists from all the world.
Zimad works to the letter K, while it takes the contours with two different types of spray, tells me, with a contagious enthusiasm, about him, about the “great writing”, which will become a kind of greeting cards from the neighborhood, and about the history of Bushwick.
Until a few years ago the entire area was off limits, not only for tourists and visitors but also for the law enforcement agency, a sort of no man’s land.
Then something has changed, the people in the neighborhood began to react motivated mainly by the strong and decisive participation of the municipal administration, more and more interested to “clean up” the boroughs outside Manhattan.
The strongest impulse is however came from Joe Ficalora, from its commitment to the revival and promotion of this area.
Native of Bushwick, Joe in 1991 saw his father die here, during a shootout in the street. Growing up, committed herself in order that his home and the streets around the whole area could become a safe place for future generations.
So, the idea that the strong revival must necessarily pass through the art, Joe has created The Bushwick Collective, a permanent exhibition of street art that, through the bright colors and the characters, real or fantasy, immortalized on the walls of the buildings and factories of the neighborhood, tells not only the great desire for renewal but also the dreams, stories, projects, thoughts and hopes of an entire community.
Joe invites street artists from all the world to decorate the exterior walls of buildings, more than fifty today, made available free of charge (for the cause as they say here) by their owners.
Slowly, thanks to the growing interest from experts, curators and young artists eager to be known, the spaces abandoned begin to fill with professional studios and exhibition spaces that are increasingly open to the public.
The Bushwick Collective is growing, there is no wall enough big to hold a small dream that has not already been considered by some eccentric artist.
The area stretches from Jefferson Street to Troutman Street, between Wyckoff and St. Nicholas Ave.
The advice is to explore the streets from the crossroads, always trying to return to the starting point. The murals are so many and continuous that, in an attempt to follow the path, driven by curiosity, you risk of straying too far and trespassing in other areas.
Today in Bushwick lives the largest Hispanic community of the entire New York.
Mostly Caribbean immigrants, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Salvadorans who, under the impulse offered by street art, devote themselves more and more to the creation of local companies for the promotion of food and cultural traditions of their countries of origin.
Impossible do not think that here is happening something unique and special, a sort of domino effect that takes advantage of the art, in all its aspects, as a means of promotion, development and growth.
How Zimad says, much more than a promise, an opportunity to be seized because…
If you do not built your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.